I love fall, especially on this campus, as classes and activities get underway, new relationships begin, fall sports pick up speed, beautiful, old trees begin to change color, and mornings become less muggy and more crisp.
In my office, pressed in a book, I have three brittle orange, red and gold leaves that Dr. Joseph Copeland, the seventh president of Maryville College, gave to me 22 years ago when I began my first job at MC on October 1, 1990, before most of you were born! He explained that his wife had collected them from the trees in front of Anderson Hall 20 years before, and that those trees were the reason the college’s colors are orange and garnet.
I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that MC and East Tennessee both are colorful, beautiful places to be this time of year. I also notice that even those people who “don’t do woods,” dislike exercise or think they are too busy to spend time outdoors are often tempted to do so on fall days. Year after year, I am encouraged by individuals’ propensity to have a newfound interest in the outdoors during this season, and it thrusts me into a “get outside and move” attitude.
Research suggests over and over that people who are fit and people who spend time in nature are happier, more productive and healthier. So, as MC and its surroundings take on the fresh, colorful crispness of fall, I am challenging each of you to forget about how much is enough, and instead make a commitment to get outside and move!
Now, for our fall athletes who are pushing their physical limits in practice and competition, this sounds ridiculous, but for some, this can be life-changing new habit. For example, did you know that it is one-half mile from Bartlett Hall to the House in the Woods? That means you can easily do a brisk 1-mile round trip in 15-20 minutes that will get your blood flowing and your spirits up.
Do this once or twice a day, every day, and you will develop a healthy habit. So, no matter what shape you find yourself, this is the best time of year to rediscover nature’s beauty and get Maryville College moving. I will see you out there.